Irish growers have warned they are “hanging on a knife edge” as they call for the government to establish the long-promised Agri-Food Regulator without further delay.
Irish Farmers’ Association president Tim Cullinan told the Irish Examiner that the Irish horticulture sector is “haemorrhaging.” His comments came at a national horticulture meeting in Meath, where he warned that that illegal and unfair trading practices at any stage of the supply chain “will not be tolerated, and IFA will bring these to the attention of the relevant authorities.” He added, “Our sustainable horticultural sector is in demise and the Office of Fairness and Transparency must be robust and the legislation must give real powers to address these longstanding issues before the industry is completely eroded.”
IFA fruit and vegetable committee chairman Niall McCormack warned, “It is projected that the area of field vegetables will contract by a minimum of 7% again this year. This downward trajectory cannot continue. Irish growers are proactive and positive by nature. We should be shouting about the positive attributes of our sector in terms of food security and our environmentally sustainable produce, however, time and time again we are in crisis mode to save our sector… [This] simply cannot continue.”
Irish Minister for Agriculture Charlie McConalogue told politicians that this bill is, “historic in its objective and rationale. There is a commitment from the Government to make sure this legislation drives on, delivers for farm families, and delivers on transparency in the food supply chain.”